Modern buildings need to cool down

Spring is coming (slowly) but not everyone will be welcoming the warmer weather. Some of the modern and well-insulated buildings that offer ultra-low heating bills throughout the winter can become fatally warm as the mercury rises. Has insulation become too effective?

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Structural insulation is incredibly effective at keeping heat inside a building and modern building regulations have increased the minimum standards to minimise energy use. These are buildings designed to be heated primarily by the waste heat given off by the inhabitants and the appliances they use – heat which can include the ‘useful energy loss’ from uninsulated heating pipework.

Beyond ‘useful’ energy loss

Not all waste energy is ‘useful’ – even when it’s retained within the building fabric some waste heat can actually make the building much harder to live in.

This is particularly true of the waste heat from hot water supply pipes. These pipes operate throughout the year and whilst they may contribute towards the heating requirement during the winter this isn’t the case in the summer when even the heating systems in less well insulated homes are switched off.

‘Overheating’ can push indoor temperatures up well beyond 30°C in some cases. In offices and other commercial buildings, or in more naturally warm climates, these temperatures would cause air-conditioning systems to kick-in – making what should be the most energy efficient into some of the most wasteful.

Too hot to handle

Living in a cold and temperate climate, homeowners in the UK don’t typically have access to air-conditioning so cooling down an overheated building isn’t just difficult. It can be nearly impossible.

The best way to overcome the problems are during the design of the building itself and there are only a few truly energy efficient things that can be done once an overheating building has already been built. Insulating all hot water pipes to prevent heat loss through the summer – not just through the winter – is only part of the solution but it can help without adding to the ongoing running costs of an energy efficient house.

Kaiflex ST & Kaifoam PE for your home

Kaifoam PE is a cost effective domestic grade pipe insulation that can be used on heating and hot water services and will dramatically cut the rates of energy loss.

Kaiflex ST is Kaimann’s flagship insulation brand and manufactured to meet commercial and industrial specifications worldwide. With a flexible closed cell structure and available in a selfseal format, Kaiflex ST is an ideal choice when looking to insulate otherwise challenging pipe configurations.

Which material you choose to use will be highly influenced by the type of pipework and its location. Kaiflex ST selfseal is an especially good choice if the pipework is flexible or if space surrounding the pipework is very tight.

When using either Kaiflex ST or Kaifoam PE to insulate hot water pipes you will reduce waste heat loss and this can help to prevent overheating.

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